By Rev. Blayne Higa
I’m not ok.
I’m not ok I had to close the doors of the temple to protect my Sangha.
I’m not ok I can’t give a hug to someone grieving the loss of their loved one.
I’m not ok because I feel like I’m not doing enough.
I’m not ok the most vulnerable in our society have become worse off.
I’m not ok corporate greed is prioritized over people’s lives.
I’m not ok Asian Americans are being attacked for the color of their skin.
I’m not ok those institutions charged with protecting us are spreading confusion and fear.
I’m not ok we are trusting the words of a willfully ignorant and self-serving President over doctors and scientists.
I’m not ok some pastors and churches are still holding large communal worship falsely claiming, “religious liberty.”
I’m not ok some selfish people are endangering the welfare of others by not staying at home.
I’m not ok that people are dying alone.
I am made ok by realizing that temple is not just a building but a community of people who care for one another.
I am made ok by witnessing simple acts of human kindness.
I am made ok by being part of the evolution of what it means to be Sangha.
I am made ok when a temple member asks me how I’m doing.
I am made ok by slowing down to realize what is most essential in life.
I am made ok awakening to the beauty that is always present.
I am made ok by the sun rising and setting each day.
I am made ok when I chant the Hymn of True Entrusting each morning.
I am made ok by hearing Amida’s voice of compassion in my solitude.
I am made ok realizing I don’t have to be perfect to care for others.
I am made ok knowing we can change our world if we try.
I am made ok knowing that within the embrace of the sacred no one dies alone.
Not being ok makes me appreciate my full humanness illuminated by the Buddha’s light.
Not being ok makes me strive to make things ok.
I’m not ok and that’s ok.
Namo Amida Butsu
Rev. Blayne Higa holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, California with a focus on Shin Buddhist ministry and chaplaincy. He is the resident minister of the Kona Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. You can read more of his writing here.